Profe José
Professional Teacher
What's your view on the possessive form in English?

It's been quite the debate if the apostrophe sign (') goes at the end of a word that ends in (S) or do we just add on another (S)?  Could this be a British vs. American thing? or is this a new established rule?  


examples; James' car vs. James's car

                Chris' job vs. Chris's job

May 23, 2014 10:20 PM
Comments · 6

At university I was taught that we add an additional s for contemporary people, but not for historical figures.  ie. Mr Jones's but Jesus'.     I have no idea what the rationale for this rule was/is but that's what we were taught.     In everyday writing I think I tend to go back and forth interchangeably without thinking about it.  When I was teaching I taught/accepted both. 

May 27, 2014

I'm not aware of a difference between US and GB English in this area.


Personally, I go with the sound of the word.  In most cases you hear an extra 's' and add an extra syllable /iz/, so I add apostrophe + s, for example Chris's /krisiz/.


The only times when I wouldn't add an extra 's' after the apostrophe is when the possessive form doesn't add the  extra syllable /iz/.  This is usually the case with silent s sounds eg the name Louis. I wouldn't add an extra s here - I'd just write "  Louis'  " .



May 26, 2014

As a Chinese, I get the rules from our book. If the ends with an S, just need a '

May 26, 2014

I totally agree, but new grammar books are showing differently!

May 26, 2014

I was always taught if it ends with an "s" than the apostrophe goes at the end. No extra "s" is added. I am American and was taught years ago. 

May 23, 2014
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Profe José
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Vietnamese